Mac OS X Trojan steals processing power to produce Bitcoins

Security researchers warn that DevilRobber malware could slow down infected Mac computers

By Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service |  Security, Bitcoin, Mac OS X

A newly identified Mac OS X Trojan bundles a component that leverages the processing power of video cards (GPUs) to generate Bitcoins, a popular type of virtual currency.

The new Trojan was dubbed DevilRobber by antivirus vendors and is being distributed together with several software applications via BitTorrent sites.

"This malware is complex, and performs many operations," security researchers from Mac antivirus vendor Intego warned. "It is a combination of several types of malware: It is a Trojan horse, since it is hidden inside other applications; it is a backdoor, as it opens ports and can accept commands from command and control servers; it is a stealer, as it steals data and Bitcoin virtual money; and it is a spyware, as it sends personal data to remote servers," they explained.

The Bitcoin mining program that DevilRobber installs on infected computers is called DiabloMiner and is a legitimate Java-based application used in the virtual currency's production.

Bitcoin is a form of virtual cash that can be exchanged by users without the need for an intermediary bank or payment service. Bitcoins are actually cryptographic hashes that get generated piece by piece using specialized programs like DiabloMiner, according to a public algorithm.

One Bitcoin is currently valued at around $3.20, and it is a good source of profit for both Bitcoin miners, who legitimately use their computer resources to generate them, and cybercriminals who steal them.

The DevilRobber trojan steals processing power, which can lead to slow computer performance, as well as actual Bitcoins, which are kept in virtual wallets on the victim's machine.

"OSX/Miner-D [DevilRobber] also spies on you by taking screen captures and stealing your usernames and passwords," warned Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at antivirus vendor Sophos.

"In addition, it runs a script that copies information to a file called dump.txt regarding truecrypt data, Vidalia (TOR plugin for Firefox), your Safari browsing history and .bash_history," he added.

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